Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs had very different views of what Apple (AAPL) should be. The outspoken Jobs eventually overruled his partner and built the Cupertino-based company into one of the most successful companies of all time. During an “ask me anything” event on Tuesday, Wozniak responded to a question regarding his opinion of Apple and its current practices and as you may expect, the open-source advocate had some harsh words for his former company.
“Like all of us who appreciate the quality of Apple products, I have mixed feelings,” said Wozniak. “I grew up with core values of openness and sharing of technology. When I ran dial-a-joke it was illegal to own, use or purchase your own telephone or answering machine. You couldn’t connect anything to the phone jack except that which you leased from AT&T. You had little choice and there was no room for outside innovators. We techies all said this was a bad thing. You probably see the parallel.”
The co-founder went on to point out that once upon a time Apple released software on competing platforms, such as its release of iTunes on Windows. Something has recently changed, however: As Wozniak points out, iTunes isn’t available on Android.
“Apple’s real rise from the small market-share Macintosh company to the iProducts of today began with iTunes and the iPod,” he said. “This turned out to be a 2nd huge business which roughly doubled Apple’s ‘size’. If you remember, we ported iTunes to Windows. We now addressed 100% of the world’s market with this integrated system (iPod/iTunes) and it began the era of Apple that we are now in. So why don’t we port iTunes to Android? Did something get closed up? I love Apple products and iTunes and wish it were on my Android products too.”
Wozniak did note that as a shareholder, “Apple seems to stand alone in profit market share. So the course they are taking is a good one. It’s hard to guess whether profits would be greater or lesser under hypothetical scenarios.”